One thing I truly miss from my life in America is driving. I miss owning a car and hopping in whenever I wanted to get out of the house. Whether it was running to the supermarket or going the distance for a countryside escape, that freedom of the open road and a long, Texas highway is something special. The trains in Germany offer so many options to getaway, but it’s always a longer journey by train and bus to the road less traveled.
When Shayla spontaneously decided on a trip to Germany, I knew we needed to spend a couple days exploring by car. Shayla wanted to see parts of Germany outside of Munich, Berlin, and other tourist spots – the spots she wold not end up on her own. Karlsruhe lies between two fantastic regions: the Rhine Valley and the Black Forest, so that was not going to be a problem. To get even further away from tourist spots, we decided against the Rhine Valley and shifted a little further west to the Moselle Valley. The Moselle Valley is not only German (although we stuck to that part), but also extends into France and Luxembourg.
We were based in the little town of Löf, right on the Moselle River. Since February is mega-offseason in this region, our hotel suggested we drive south to Cochem if we wanted to visit a castle. So south we drove, and up we hiked to the Reichsburg Cochem, only to find it also closed (just one of those moments). The hike up with our already sore legs was still validated by the fantastic views of the town. Fortunately, the rest of the town was open for business. We wandered through the old streets, engaging in wine tastings and even a mustard tasting! I seriously love me some mustard, and the curry and Kölsch beer mustards were pretty fantastic, but in the end I took home the classic recipe.
After enjoying everything Cochem had to offer, we continued driving further south along the river. Steep vineyards, the steepest in Germany in fact, lined the roads and it was spectacular imagining how much more beautiful this already breathtaking region must be in the summer months. The homes of family-owned winegrowers lined the roads and we made one last stop for some wine. We rang the doorbell of a large, brick home and the wife of the winegrower came down and let of sample a variety from their collection. She explained that this region is so famous for its Rieslings because Riesling grapes grow best on very steep hills, like the ones in these valleys. I ended up taking home a couple dry rieslings and even a sweet white dessert wine. I normally steer clear of dessert wines, but this one was truly something special. The day only got better with a dinner that hit the spot and rewarded all of our walking.
our cute little Audi A1 rental, with the surprising and confusing start-stop technology
How about those winding roads for a drive?
wine tasting room
old mustard mill (Senfmühle)
a local wine producer’s home
another wine tasting room
Do you like Rieslings?
I was never a Riesling-drinker before moving to Germany. I always thought of Riesling as a very sweet wine, but actually the dry (trocken) Rieslings have easily scooted into my number 1 wine slot. Chardonnays taste so austere to me lately.